Author Topic: RJ45 Outdoor Connections  (Read 3636 times)

Offline ron

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RJ45 Outdoor Connections
« on: December 28, 2013, 10:11:05 AM »
Just wondering what people's thoughts are on RJ45 connections outside and long term use. I know some people are going to the waterproof connectors instead of RJ45s on their SSCs. Are there any other options or thoughts? Any body use a Corrosionx or something similar on their RJ45s?

I've got a couple of mighty mini floods and some aethers I might use outside for extended times this year.

Offline arw01

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Re: RJ45 Outdoor Connections
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2013, 10:53:34 AM »
A big part of the choice is weather in your location.  I think ultimately a waterproof screw on connector is better, however I used corrossion X on my pigtails and tried to get them pointing down.  No issues at all this year after I did that, certainly had corrossion BEFORE I did that in just a mater of days.

If you could find true gold plated pigtails that would make a big difference too.

I did buy enough 4 conductors from Ray to make the change over at some point if it is necessary, and it also allows you to do some power injection a little easier if you needed it too.

Offline doubleeaz

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Re: RJ45 Outdoor Connections
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2013, 10:56:22 PM »
Lightorama sells what they call a RJ45 waterproof dangle for $5.99.  I bought a very similar product from Laird Technologies (digikey sells them for ~$9) with part number RJ45-ECS.  I live in Arizona so not much moisture, but when it rains, these things keep everything dry.  Left a box out in my lawn for a couple days during the summer and it got watered very well and no leaks.

Offline Steve Gase

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Re: RJ45 Outdoor Connections
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2013, 01:13:28 AM »
first year using rj45 in the display I had lots of problems... some of the problems might have been prevented with better treatment -- like ensuring all connectors faced downward so that water would not flow into the connections.  but the majority of the connections that were upturned or lying flat on the ground had failed or came close.

this year I replaced the rj45 connectors on my SSCs with 4-pin waterproof connectors and I had zero problems.

I continued to use rj45 on my aether floods (16 floods, 32 connectors) with no known problems -- everything is still working.  I did ensure the connectors were facing downward.  when I take down the display I will inspect them to see if they suffered any corrosion or are borderline and ready to fail.  but for now, no bad behavior despite a lot of rain and ice.
http://WinterLightShow.com  |  110K channels, 50K lights  |  Nutcracker, Falcon, DLA, HolidayCoro

Offline ron

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Re: RJ45 Outdoor Connections
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2013, 08:28:30 AM »
I do have a number of floods in my yard that are on their 2nd year using RJ45 connectors. I have not had one fail yet but I have seen some corrosion. I'll have to check closely when I tear down as well.

Offline drlucas

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Re: RJ45 Outdoor Connections
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2013, 09:33:56 AM »
Maybe I was just unlucky with the aethers. I guess in my case it was more the tab on rj45 male end that when I crimped the cable didn't unbend the end and it slipped out on me. This is what I get for getting the cheapo ends. Anyways I'm moving over to 3 and 4pin pigtails as I have a ton of them and better to screw the connectors on and not have to worry about any moisture sneaking in.
Ryan

Offline Steve Gase

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Re: RJ45 Outdoor Connections
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2013, 03:37:19 PM »
Anyways I'm moving over to 3 and 4pin pigtails as I have a ton of them and better to screw the connectors on and not have to worry about any moisture sneaking in.

This reminds me...

I've been using the 3C and 4C water-proof connectors all over the place, and they have different functions.  I've taken to using colored wire-ties wrapped around the connector (both male and female) to describe the function of the connector.  I trim them so that they don't snag on stuff.

I use pink for 4C power injection...  blue for 4C connections to the SSC...   blue for 3C connections from the SSC using the DLA wiring scheme, red for 3C using the Technicolor scheme, green on 4C for the RGB dumb string connections. 

Anyway -- thought I'd share my approach to deal with the proliferation of connections that use the same connector type.  I want to be sure that I don't combine mismatched connectors  that might cause damage if power was introduced at the wrong place.

Offline ron

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Re: RJ45 Outdoor Connections
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2013, 05:01:20 PM »
Great idea Steve. Another one of yours I'm stealing.

Offline davron12

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Re: RJ45 Outdoor Connections
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2013, 12:46:22 PM »
Last year my megatree used all RJ45 connectors and I found them to be a big pain. I have problems both with moisture and with keeping the clips in the female jacks. Those gray RJ45 pigtails seem to be cheaply made and some fit better than others. Instead of Corrosion X, I use dialectric grease, which works great for keeping the water out and from corrosion. However, it makes it harder to keep the plugs in the jacks and also you have to keep things away from dirt as it's hard to clean dirt out of the jacks once you've filled them up with grease.

Going forward, all new boards I build will have the 3/4-wire waterproof connectors and only RJ45 when the end terminates in a waterproof box.

Offline youngberg1950

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Re: RJ45 Outdoor Connections
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2013, 11:55:25 AM »
It's my first year so we will see what corrosion I have after tear down.  I had to fix a flat on my daughters bike this summer and had the thought that I could use the good parts of the inner tube to "waterproof" my rj45's.  I cut it into about 6 inch long tubes and slid it over the dongle, plugged in the cable and then zip tied the 2 ends tight.  So far I have had no issues with water and I did get freezing rain and heavy wet snow.

Offline JonB256

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Re: RJ45 Outdoor Connections
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2013, 12:02:03 PM »

this year I replaced the rj45 connectors on my SSCs with 4-pin waterproof connectors and I had zero problems.


Steve, I think you and Davron both talk about using 4-core waterproof connectors for the 2 Data lines, +12V and Ground instead of open RJ-45 jacks.

What is your wiring convention??  (just in case we have to ever swap anything at The Academy)

Offline Steve Gase

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Re: RJ45 Outdoor Connections
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2013, 12:16:52 PM »
In the DLA wiki, I documented the 3C wiring for SSC to pixels -- both the old and the Technicolor schemes:

http://www.diylightanimation.com/wiki/index.php?title=3_Conductor

Also in the DLA wiki, I document 4C wiring for the dumb string RGB+Gnd, and the power+pixelnet.  The same power+pixelnet scheme could also be used for power+dmx -- but, I'm not using that yet.

http://www.diylightanimation.com/wiki/index.php?title=4_Conductor
« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 07:41:39 PM by Steve Gase »

 

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